It truly is better to give than receive. This was a great truth missed by the rich man here in Luke. As he enjoyed the opulence of his life, he did nothing to help those suffering, even the one just outside his own gate! This man’s sin wasn’t his diet or clothes, it was his self-indulgence while he overlooked “the least of these!”
In verse 20, we are introduced to the beggar Lazarus. Now, don’t confuse this Lazarus with the one Christ raised from the grave. This, most scholars agree, was a different Lazarus. It may have simply been a common name at that time…
In any case, we find this fellow in a terrible state of affairs. He apparently was as pitiful as a man could be, weak, hungry, and in bad health. His body was covered in painful sores, like Job. He probably was one of these who, to just look at him could churn the stomach.
At the gate he lay, miserable, destitute, terrible painful sores weeping through his ragged and insufficient garments. He would have been avoided by many, possible mistreated by others. Slurs would have hurled his way as people assumed his predicament was self-inflicted, the product of some sin or another.
As pained as he surely was, as decrepit as his condition, he apparently kept his faith in the Lord. Like Job – who in the midst of great suffering, stood fast in his faith – this man, Lazarus, kept the faith, honoring the Lord for every tiny crumb that fell his way. And here we find him looking towards even the simplest crumbs that were cast from the rich man’s table.
He wasn’t asking for a place at the feast! He wasn’t looking for even a little plate lunch! Scraps! Crumbs! The poor man longed for sustenance, even in the form of something as meager as the crumbs which otherwise would be swept out the door with the trash!
He would have taken this, and he would have been thankful for it!
As terrible as Lazarus’s condition, you know what’s significant?
We don’t see any indication of complaint or gripping or whining. This fellow, faithful as he was, suffered, and in the midst of his suffering he found contentment in the Lord!
All these people who overlook the suffering of the faithful, declaring that you can live abundantly and in prosperity if you live for God, they miss the point! They overlook countless suffering and miserable children of God all the while they declare things that are certainly unscriptural
Many faithful suffer while the wicked prosper. Turn on the news… you see it everywhere…
“Hell & the Rich Man” continues next time…
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